Monday, January 21, 2008

One nation,but a world apart

Nader G El Attar & Rienne Gamal´s film hideous is one of the subjects of Global Voices video editor Juliana Rincón Parra´s article secrets on Video. The seven and a half minute long film shows the gap between the affluent and poor in Egypt , how they stumble upon each other, day in and day out, but in reality living separate lives. The contrast with half of it being filmed in colour and the other in black & White as well as the famous Louis Armstrong tune What a wonderful world adds a dimension to the topic of the have & have not´s.

Thanks to Nader and Rienne for making the film , and to Juliana for showing it to a broder audience on GV!

I would have loved to have it on my blog, but i couldn´t find it on youtube , so for now the only way to see it to my knowledge is through Nader´s facebook account were he has uploaded te film, you can reach it via the Global Voices article above.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

1000 Mabrouk Kim

The highly talented Egyptian-American Photographer Kim Badawi has won the Arab Media & Society competition for best photography with this photo. Both Badawi´s photo´s & the Arab Media & Society Journal, are well worth looking out for in the future.

1000 Mabrouk Kim!

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Around the Middle East in 8 days

I just found these photos of Bush´s Grand tour of the region. Photos from Bush’s Middle East Trip « Skunks’s Weblog Enjoy! They are taken from Skunk´s weblog, Thanks!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thank you Mr President !

President Bush has left the Middle East after eight days , six countries and a occupied territory, that he expects to be on the verge of independence by the end of his term in office. I´m not going to dwell on the whirlwind tour right now, let´s save something for later.

I just want to share the transcript of the official statements from the last leg of the trip, in Sharm al Sheikh the press conference with President´s Mubarak and Bush at the four seasons hotel just hours ago, and the most interesting part was perhaps the fact that President Bush was paying tribute to Egyptian civil society, journalists, bloggers and Judges.

Progress toward greater political openness is being led by the Egyptians themselves, by pioneering journalists -- some of whom even may be here -- bloggers, or judges insisting on independence, or other strong civic and religious leaders who love their country and are determined to build a democratic future.

Mr President, let me take the opportunity to thank you personally for those kind words.

Those kind words together with the omission of Egypt among countries making progress in the major speech on democracy in the region that Bush gave in Abu Dhabi last Sunday, apart from these short sentences following below, and believed to be meant for Egypt is the strongest language used since the ¨the freedom agenda administration began backtracking on democracy in the land of peace after the Muslim Brotherhood won 88 seats(20 percent) in parliament elections in the Autumn of 2005.

Unfortunately, amid some steps forward in this region we've also seen some setbacks. You cannot build trust when you hold an election where opposition candidates find themselves harassed or in prison. You cannot expect people to believe in the promise of a better future when they are jailed for peacefully petitioning their government. And you cannot stand up a modern and confident nation when you do not allow people to voice their legitimate criticisms

The lines above could be read as a critique of the five year prison sentence of Ayman Nour, and perhaps, although not likely for the one year sentence of Talaát Sadat, both of whom were candidates in the Presidential elections in September 2005. Added to the list is also the current leader of the Wafd, who awaits a 30 day sentence as publisher of the party newspaper. You could also hope that the administration thinks of people like Khairat al Shater,third in rank in the Muslim Brotherhood and the rest of the group with him facing military court, although all of them being civilians in a long trial which has been dragging on for the most part of the year after the case was dismissed twice in civil courts, Or the hundreds that have been arrested from the same organization during the two years since the double election year in 2005.

Two words that was completely absent from today´s statements was human rights,although it was mentioned implicitly by President Bush , who thanked Egypt for their help in the war on terror. That is to say among other things render the U.S a helping hand in providing full board accommodation to V.I.P´s for longer or shorter durations at state of the art facilities.

The front page and leading article in the Independent of London looked like this on the 14th of January after the Abu Dhabi speech.

I will not ask or expect you to do the walk, Mr President, i´ve seen enough of how your administration works to know that short term security and stability always takes precedence over long term strategic thinking as well as to human rights, rule of law and democratization.

But once again, thank you for those kind words Mr President...

The first photo were the two Presidents is pointing out the road ahead towards democracy(Reminds of the photos of Barak(Not Obama) and Arafat at Camp David in the summer of 2000)is taken, with courtesy of EPA.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Merry Christmas to all Copts and a Happy New 1429 and 2008

A late Merry Christmas to all Copts and other members of the Orthodox Churches!

The fast of nativity is over and real food is permisable again! A nightmare for digestion, but a feast for eye and palate was on the agenda January 7th.

A very late wish for a happy 2008 as well as well as a wish for a happy 1429 hijri year.

Let´s hope the spirit of Christmas proves conteaugeous throughout 2008, a year , once again predestined to be a year of decision, if one is inclined to believe in the fairy tales of Bush Jr & company, but just as he failed the time frame for a resolution by 2005 when he first announced his intentions to galvanize the world towards peace between Israelis and Palestinians in the White House Rose Garden in June of 2002, he has a very hard task ahead during this final year of his presidency, the idea of Annapolis is too late, too little, both peace partners are weak, one of them have lost half of his constituency, and is desperate for a resolution. The other is not really that keen on making any concessions at all, and knows that the honest broker in the shape of Bush and Condi is not the ones likely to put any pressure in terms of settlements, Jerusalem or the (nonexistent) right of return. This is at best wishful thinking from an administration that haven´t been blessed with much positive news since ¨God¨ spoke to W and told him what a fine idea it was to ¨Free Iraq¨ before the world discovered that there was a lot of oil, but hardly any weapons of mass destruction in the country. Nevertheless i´m looking forward to see how this progress, and if i´m wrong in the end i´ll be more than happy!

One promising race that runs with time, rather than the Annapolis process above that runs counter to it, is the Race for the Presidency. The candidates looks interesting this year, and i hope the time has come for change. The Democrats seems to have the most interesting candidates, and now when the most knoledgable candidate on foreign policy, Bill Richardson has thrown in his towel, i´m thrilled to say that i could easily live with any of the three top democrats, a ticket with Clinton/Obama or the other way around could actually be a possible winner. But maybe there will be too much bad blood between the two, and then Edwards or Richardson could be the choice in order to win the south.

On the Republican side i could also live with John McCain, eventhough his policy on Iraq is not my coup of tea, Huckabee and Roomey has proven to me, that they are not mature enough for the job, with their remarks on Muslims, which might be winning votes in certain segments of society, but would to me signal a lack of understanding of what America is built upon, and what America needs in the next four years in terms of uniting the country and rebuild bridges abroad, and regain the faith in America that a great many people around the world has lost after 8 years of George W Bush.

The best thing with the coming year politically speaking is that at the end of it , there will be a new President elect, that brings a bit of hope , and some common sense to the White House.

What about 2007 you might ask? well let´s not dwell upon the past, at least in this blog post!

Happy Christmas and Merry New Year 1429 and 2008!

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